Tony Bennett, hero of the Great American Songbook, has passed away at the age of 96

In the 1950s, Mr. Bennett toured for the first time, played Las Vegas for the first time and married for the first time, to Patricia Beach, a cheerleader who watched him perform in Cleveland. The marriage was established in the 1960s, swamped by Mr. Bennett’s perpetual touring, but their two sons would end up playing roles in Mr. Bennett’s career: the eldest, D’Andrea, known as Danny, became his father’s manager, and DeGal, known as Day, became a music producer and recording engineer.

In July 1961, Mr. Bennett was performing in Hot Springs, Ark., and was about to head to the West Coast when longtime pianist Ralph Sharon played him a song written by George Corey and Douglas Cross that had been freezing in a drawer for two years. Mr. Sharon and Mr. Bennett decided it would be perfect for their next date, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, and it was.

They recorded the song – of course it was “I left my heart in San Francisco” — six months later, in January 1962. Mr. Bennett won his first of two Grammy Awards, for Best Male Solo Performance and Record of the Year, and Worldwide Fame. He wrote in “The Good Life” that he was often asked if he ever got tired of singing it.

He wrote, “I replied, ‘Do you ever get tired of making love? “

Just five months later, Mr. Bennett performed at Carnegie Hall with Mr. Sharon and a small orchestra. It garnered rave reviews – though The Times measured – and the concert recording is now a classic.

But as the 1960s progressed and rock and roll became dominant, Mr. Bennett’s popularity began to wane. In 1969, he succumbed to pressure from the new head of Columbia Records, Clive Davis, to record his own versions of contemporary hits, and the result, “Tony sings the best hits of the day!” – including the Beatles Eleanor Rigby And “something” It was a musical disaster, a record Mr. Bennett later told an interviewer that made him vomit.